Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Early Morning Hike

After hiking to our campsite along Mill Creek and then continuing to the Twin Pillars and back, that evening my hubby and I turned in early.  Worn out by the fresh air and exercise, we slept soundly (well, the before-dinner wine may have contributed...)

Early morning light on the forest

I awoke at dawn to the sound of birds singing.  They made such a racket we couldn't sleep, so Roger and I ended up rising in the wee morning hours.  Our early wake-up call did have a silver lining, as we witnessed some gorgeous light from the rising sun.

Desert parsley

After a quick breakfast, we decided to pack up and trek back to our car.  This way we'd get a jump on the hikers, and maybe even hit the closest town in time for brunch.

My hubby shows his strength!

So off we trotted, retracting our steps from the day before.  It was still very early in the morning, and no one was stirring as we passed by the lush meadow with it's multitude of tents.  Roger spied a leaning tree, and posed for some macho photo ops.


Roger is a fast walker, and marched ahead as if on a mission.  I, however, moseyed behind, stopping frequently to photograph all the things I'd missed on the hike in (and recapturing some of the lovely scenes once again)

More burned forest

The big difference between the day before was the wonderful bright sunlight streaming into the forest.  It even made the burned-out areas look good.

Morning shadows

I made sure to get photos of all the wildflowers I'd spied on yesterday's walk. 

Unusual purple flower

And the bark of the Ponderosa Pines, which glowed orange in the early morning sunshine.

Love the color of this tree's bark

Coming upon our first creek crossing, (the one that we had to don sandals and wade through) I was quick enough to capture Roger on video.

One great thing about early morning hiking - seeing dewdrops bejeweling the vegetation.  Like tiny diamonds!

Morning dew looks like jewels

Arriving back at our car, after offloading our packs, and changing clothes, we headed down the dusty, gravel road.  Not far from our trailhead, we stopped at a roadside pullout to take in another wonder of this wilderness area - Steins Pillar.

Steins Pillar

Rising 350 feet above the valley below, Steins Pillar is a noticeable landmark.  Formed by rhyolite ash erupting from old Cascade mountains some 25 million years ago, this compacted ash turned to stone.  Wind and water over the millennia weathered the rock, producing the tall pillar seen today. 

Nearby paintbrush

A short, 2-mile trail takes visitors to Steins Pillar's very base.  I really wanted to explore this path, but after hiking all day yesterday with his old worn-out boots, Roger was finished.  So I decided to save this path for another visit. 

Steins Pillar close-up

One final glimpse of this magnificent formation (and a few photos too) and I bid the Mill Creek Wilderness goodbye.  A successful weekend backpacking trip, I'd gotten my hubby out hiking and discovered a new favorite Central Oregon destination.

(Now for that second breakfast...)

Sharing with:  Wednesday Around the World


  1. Glad you survived your overnighter!

  2. Looks like a lovely end to your backpack trip! The hike, wildflowers and the pillar are wonderful scenes. Thanks for sharing another great post and trip! Have a happy day!

  3. Just beautiful! I love the early morning dew and light, too. Being a morning person helps, but I know what you mean about the birds waking you up! :-)

  4. It looks great. Worth spending a week here.

  5. What a lovely place. Great way to spend time!

  6. Another beautiful area to hike. Hubby sure is strong! Tom The Backroads Traveller

  7. What perfect weather you had for your backpack trip! It must have been wonderful to be up in the hills this early, and find wildflowers in full bloom. Lovely photographs!

  8. Such a beautiful place to have a backpack trip! Pretty pics :-)

  9. Beautiful - I love Steins Pillar.

  10. You've got to frame that photo of Roger pushing the tree over - great! I wonder if that purple flower is Sky Pilot - I haven't seen any yet this summer. Great hike with dew covered leaves and blooms.

  11. Linda,
    I really enjoy reading about your hikes, and the photos are always beautiful. I need to get out and do some hiking around here. You've inspired me!

  12. Overnighters are not easy. Beautiful place for hiking, Linda! :)

  13. You should have taken a photo with just one finger on that leaning tree! I love the early morning light but hate getting up for it:)

  14. Sorry the birds woke you so early but it sounds like it all turned out for the best. Good for you for getting your husband out for an overnight in the great outdoors!

  15. Really delightful photos indeed.

  16. A perfect weekend. I wonder if the lean on the tree is from so many 'macho's' posing? Will the next macho get an awful surprise when the tree topples? Just kidding.

  17. Nice hike! Wish my husband liked to hike. He thinks half a mile is a long distance.

  18. Nothing like an early morning start for discovering the magic in nature. Like the rock pillar.

  19. Hi! The morning dew photo is very cool. The Steins Pillar is very interesting a rock tower. I watched TV news about forest fires near Los Angeles. So sorry about burned many trees. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Hi Linda, it's been a while since I popped on over. I have been away quite a bit and am still not going to be home for long, but wanted to check in and tell you how much I enjoyed your latest post. The photos are gorgeous.

  21. Linda, I love all of the gorgeous wildflowers! The photo of the desert parsley is fabulous! Hubby and I are going to be in OR Aug. 13th - 18th. We'll be staying close to Mount Hood. Same place that I went with my girlfriends three years ago. Any fabulous hikes or places that are 'must do's or must see's?

  22. That pillar started some of the old rock climber genes in my to activate!

    Nothing like a combination of fresh air, evening wine and a long walk to make you sleep well!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  23. The birds have no volume switch, do they?! Fantastic hiking country. I would have stopped to photograph the flowers too!


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